Page images

and awake for me (to) the judgment (that) thou hast commanded ; set me in the kingdom which thou hast promised me, and

the office thou hast commanded me to undertake, which I do not 7 seek from a principle of covetousness or ambition. So shall the

congregation of the people compass thee about ;' my deliverance will be the ground of public rejoicing, especially among the pious Israelites ; for their sakes therefore return thou on high ; ascend

thy judgment seat, and determine this depending cause ; I am 8 confident thou wilt at length do it. The LORD shall judge the

people : judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness,

and according to mine integrity (that is) in me ; according to 9 my loya!ty and upright intentions toward Saul. Oh let the wick.

edness of the wicked come to an end ; let it be disappointed and corrected ; but establish the just : for the righteous God

trieth the hearts and reins ; he perfectly knows every man's true 10 character. My defence [is] of God, none but he can absolve of

condemn me, which saveth the upright in heart, therefore he will Il appear for me. God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry

(with the wicked*] every day ; though he does not immediately

appear, yet he sees uprightness, and will in time show that he is 12 the righteous judge. If he turn not, he will whet his sword ; he 13 hath bent his bow, and made it ready. He hath also prepared

for him the instruments of death ; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors; when their punishment comes, it shall be deadly, for he hath firepared various instruments of destruction, a

terrible execution for them. In the mean time they hasten it upon 14 themselves by their own iniquity ; Behold, he travaileth with

iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth false

hood ; he takes a great deal of pains to contrive and work it. 15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch 16 (which) he made. His mischief shall return upon his own

head, and his violent dealings shall come down upon bis own

pate, like a man throwing a stone in the air, which falls on his own 17 head, and dashes out his brains. I will praise the Lord accord.

ing to his righteousness : and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high ; he was so fully persuaded that he should live to see the display of God's faithfulness and justice agninst his persecutors, that he determines in the most joyful manner to praise the Lord most high, whose power and justice are infinite.


1. SEE E E here the great happiness of having a good conscience,

especially under censures or slanders. It is pleasant to reflect that we are not guilty of what we are charged with ; yea, that we have practised the contrary virtues, that we have rendered good for evil, and denied the gratification of our passions when it was in

The words with the wicked are not in the original. The Lord is she rigl.i.cus judi", and the Lord is angry every day.

our power. Let us earnestly labour to secure this happiness; and herein exercise ourselves, to keep a conscience void of offence toward God and toward man.

2. Let us think of God as the supreme and righteous judge, to keep us from doing wrong, and comfort us when we suffer wrong. This thought, so frequently suggested in this psalm, contains an awful caution to us, to avoid injuring, persecuting, slandering, or insulting others. It is a great satisfaction to us when so treated, that God searches the heart, and will in his own good time awake to judgment, and render to every man according to his works. We may therefore safely and comfortably lodge our appeal with him, who will bring forth our righteousnes8 as the noon day.

3. We may reflect how miserable they are who are the objects of God's anger. He is angry with the wicked every day; amidst all their prosperity, mirth, and gaiety. Though he seems not to regard them, he continually observes and records their faults ; and is preparing a variety of instruments for their punishment. Their schemes and contrivances to gratify their lusts, and to corrupt and injure others, will all come with dreadful vengeance on their own heads, at the revelation of the righteous judgment of God. Let us therefore earnestly pray, Lord, let the wickedness of the wicked come 10 an end ; and establish the just, that they may neither be destroyed nor ensnared by them, but may have reason to sing praise to the name of the Lord most high.


To the chief musician upon Gittith, A Psalm of David.

Gittith is the name of some instrument used at Gath. This psalm is

a pious meditation by moonlight, upon the goodness of God to mankind in general, and begins with a devout admiration of it.

LORD our Lord, how excellent, or magnificent, [is] thy


[ocr errors]

hast set thy glory above the heavens ; it reacheth above the visi

ble heavens, and fills the upper world with rapture and praise. 2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings* hast thou ordained

strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the 3 enemy and the avenger. When I consider thy heavens, the

work of thy fingers, 80 curiously and beautifully wrought, the

inoon and the stars, which thou hast ordained, which thou hast 4 disposed, ordered, and established ; What is man, weak mortal

man, that thou art so graciously mindful of him ? and the son of

Some understand this of real infants, who draw their nourishment from the breast by instincs, and are an evidence of the being and providence of God. But, rather, the psalmist having mentioned the giory of God, falls into a reflection upon the displays of it in the dispen. Sstions of providence ; by weak instruments overcoming the mighty, and confounding those who study revenge, and take every occasion to blaspheme God's name.

man, the greatest of the children of men, that thou visitest him with thy daily care and providence that thou, who hast so many worlds under thy care, filled with so many inhabitants, how won.

derful that man should so constantly and largely partake off thy 5 goodness! For thou hast made him a little lower than the

angels, perhaps next below them in the order of beings, and hast

crowned him with glory and honour ; put upon him the honout. 6 of rational faculties, made him in thine own image ; and Thou

madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands;

thou hast put all [things) under his feet ; brought all things inta ? subjection to him : All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of 8 the field ; The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, (and

whatsoever) passeth through the paths of the seas ; not only creatures upon the earth, but the fowls of the air, and the fish iz the sea ; the one does not soar so high, nor the other dive 80 deep, but man can find ways to take them ; and God hath given to some of them a remarkable instinct, by which they come to the shore in great shoals, and offer themselves as it were io be taken. He cono

cludes with the same humble, devout admiration with which he 8 began. O LORD our Lord, how excellent [is] thy name in all

the earth !




ET us acknowledge the goodness of God to the children of

In the dignity of their nature, he hath made them bu a little lower than the angels, and given them dominion over the creatures. Abundant provision is made for the support, convenjence, and delight of mankind. In how many instances does his goodness and bounty to man appear! in furnishing every part of the globe with good things for his use. He not only feeds, clothes, and protects him, but visits and converses with him as a friend. Let us think of this every day, especially at our meals ; and look upon every dish of flesh, fish, and fowl that comes to our table, as a witness that God is good, and as an incentive to gratitude, love and obedience.

2. Let us admire the condescension of God, that he will thus display and communicate his goodness to us. Think what a glorious being he is in himself. When we view the moon and stars, we may think of them as so many worlds, or parts of systems of worlds, inhabited by various ranks of beings, many of them equal, yea, perhaps superior to man. Then we should reflect, what a great stoop of condescension it is in God, to take such favourable notice of the children of men. Let his name be ever glorious and magnificent in our esteem.

3. Let us carefully observe the methods of divine providence; particularly in making use of weak and contemptible instruments to bring about great and astonishing events. He can make infants the preachers of his glory, and the publishers of his praise ; can confound the mightiest enemies, and destroy the most malicious


avengers, by persons and means which they despise. Such instances often

appear in the course of providence ; it becomes us seriously to observe them; and to acknowledge, that verily there is a God that judgeth in the earth.

4. We should adore the riches of divine grace in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is to be remembered, that our Lord quotes the second verse of this psalm to silence the cavils of the scribes and pharisees, who were displeased at the jewish children saying, Hosannah to the son of David ; and St. Paul applies what is here said of God's regards to man, and putting the creatures into subjection to him, to Jesus Christ, Heb. ii. 6. to his character and circumstances, both in his humbled and exalted state ; as made for a while lower than the angels, and having all things subjected to him. When therefore we survey the bounty and goodness of God to man, let us think of this most illustrious display of his goodness, in giving his Son to humiliation and suffering for our sake ; and now exalting him above the highest angels, and making every creature, every being but himself, subject to him. When we contemplate this scene of wonders, surely we have peculiar reason to say, Lord, what is man, that thou art mindful of him ? and the son of man, that thou visitest him ?



To the chief musician upon Muthlabben, * A Psalm of David.
1 WILL praise (thee,] O LORD, with my whole heart; I

will show forth all thy marvellous works ; I will praise thee 2 with hearty devotion and ardent affection. I will be glad and re

joice in thee : I will sing praise to thy name, thou most 3 High. When mine enemies are turned back, they shall fall 4 and perish at thy presence, and not by my power. For thou hast

maintained my right and my cause which I solemnly committed 5 to thee : thou satest in the throne judging right. Thou hast re

buked the heathen, thou hast destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name for ever and ever. This probably refers to the Philistines ; there is a beautiful gradation in it ; first he rebuk

ed them, then destroyed them, and lastly put out their name forever. 6 O thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end : and

thou hast destroyed cities ; their memorial is perished with them. The marginal reading in the bibles is best ; the destruc

tions of the enemy are come to a perpetual end; and their cities hast 7 thou destroyed, &c. But the LORD shall endure for ever: he

hath prepared his throne for judgment; he still lives lo avenge 8 my cause. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he

shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness ; his jurisdiction is not limited, nor can his justice be corrupted. On the con

• The learned are not agreed about the meaning of this title.

9 trary, The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed ; a 10 refuge in times of trouble. And they that know thy name, who

are acquainted with thy justice, and the merciful dispensations of

thy providence, will put their trust in thee : for thou, LORD, hast Il not forsaken them that seek thee. Sing praises to the LORD,

which dwelleth in Zion, in the sanctuary, where his special pres. ence is manifested : declare among the people, among the heathen

nations that are brought to know and worship God, his doings. 12 When he maketh inquisition for blood, which he will quickly and

certainly do, then he remembereth them : he forgetteth not the 13 cry of the humble, though he may not presently answer it. Have

mercy upon me, O Lord; consider my trouble (which I suffer]

of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of 14 death, that is, the grave : That I may show forth all thy praise

in the gates of the daughter of Zion, which is beautifully opposed

to the gates of death : and in the assurance of this I will rejoice in 15 thy salvation. The heathen are sunk down in the pit (that)

they made : in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. 16 The LORD is known [by] the judgment (which] he executeth:

the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands; the Lord will bring upon them the mischiefs they intended for others ; though

men should doubt the being and providence of God, he will prove it 17 by his judgments. Higgaion. Selah. The wicked shall be

turned into hell, [and] all the nations that forget God, even the 18 most numerous and powerful. For the needy shall not alway be

forgotten ; though God may long defer to judge the wicked, and 10

deliver the righteous, yet the expectation of the poor shall [not] 19 perish for ever. Arise, O LORD ; let not man prevail : let the 20 heathen, who oppose me, be judged in thy sight. Put them in

fear, O LORD, strike terror into them: (that) the nations may know themselves (to be but] men ; that how haughtily soever they may think of themselves, they may know by experience that they are but men ; or, as it is in the original, one man, that is, a poor, weak, miserable man. Selah.

ROM hence we learn, to ascribe all our victories and suc-

[ocr errors]

come us to boast of ourselves, or ascribe our prosperity to any means or instruments ; we ought to give God the glory, and praise him with our whole hearts.

2. We should think of God as the universal ruler and judge, who sitteth on his throne, to decide all controversies, to determine all appeals, to defend the injured, and to punish the injurious. Though there may seem some irregularity in his providential dispensations, yet we may be sure that the judge of all the earth doeth right; he Arepareth his throne for judgment. A most delightful thought, in the midst of our troubles, alarms, and fears.

These extraordinary notes are put bere to engige attention : as if he had said, be thought upon again and again; it is a point that serves the most scrious meditation.

« PreviousContinue »